So sorry... this game is SOLD OUT 😢

Rurik Grand Prince bundle is HERE!  This Upstart bundle includes:

  1. Rurik: Dawn of Kiev Kickstarter Edition base game (this is the KS Edition reprint from the SEP 2020 campaign for Stone and Blade)
  2. Stone and Blade Expansion
  3. Metal Coins
  4. Plastic Honey Cubes
  5. Neoprene playmat
  6. Ridiculously fun game play with plenty of depth and sweet bits! Oh wait.. that’s just how I FEEL about the box contents… haha. Still, I think you’ll find this in the bundle too 😉🎉

Please and thank you 😊

Rurik: Dawn of Kiev is sweeeeeeeet! I mean, if you are here searching for a copy, I guess I don’t need to tell you this.  It was received with open arms by the board gaming community. But still.. I can’t help myself… I just HAVE to spend a few kilobytes talking about this game!

I should mention up front (in case it isn’t already obvious given the Upstart nature of this site) that this bundle includes the base game with all the stretch goals, the metal coins (which are A-MA-ZING!) and the honey cubes… PLUS the neoprene mat AND the Stone and Blade expansion. Yeah, that’s everything. I mean… are you really surprised?!?! 🎉

Wooden bits… metal coins… and a wooden meeple BEAR!

I mean… you all know how I am… or at least I think you do. I’ll get to the gameplay in a minute (which is awesone)… but let’s be honest. I am a component fiend… and this game definitely scratches the itch… chases the dragon… fills the cup… meets the mark… ok… ok… you get the idea. I know.

<dials therapist… completes product write-up 2 hours later while dabbing tears>

The wooden bits are very beautifully crafted. The miniatures are abundant and they are well sculpted. And, there’s a freakin’ wooden bear meeple! We are done here. Fast forward to the end and add this to your cart. I mean… that’s what I did when I first saw this on Kickstarter 😬

There are 71 beautiful miniatures… 64 wooden resources… and 24 silk-screened player pawns. The game comes with plastic player trays that store all your cool bits (and help with a speedy set up). Toss In the metal coins add-on and the plastic honey-cube add-on and that sweet wooden bear meeple… stir briefly and then add Stone and Blade expansion and the beautiful neoprene mat… and well, you are in component heaven! Was that a unicorn that just flew by? Yes… yes it was. <dabs tears of joy again>

The components are sweet… but what about the game play?!?!

One answer. Auction programming.

This mechanic is SWEET! Class dismissed! But, just for the sake of completeness, let’s lay out the game play to give you an idea of just how awesome this game is…

Rurik is played over four rounds… and not surprisingly, each round has 3 phases. The strategy phase, the action phase, and the claim phase. In the strategy phase players will place their advisors. This is the auction programming mechanic… and believe me… it will rue the day!

OK, let’s roll things back a bit.

The advisors that you’ll place during the strategy phase will land on the strategy board. This board offers a variety of actions and stratifies the power of each action in a row/column grid. The actions are: Muster, Move, Attack, Build Tax, and Scheme. As you might imagine, the higher column positions offer stronger versions of these actions… and so, placement at the top of each column might be a good idea if you’re trying to put together a winning strategy. But wait… there’s more!

During the strategy phase, players will take turns placing their advisors into the Strategy Board grid. Obviously, being the first tp place your advisor into the top slot of a given action is not a bad plan… but, it’s not just position that gives your advisor the edge. Each advisor has a power level… and lower level advisors can be bumped by higher level placement later!

Your advisors are labeled 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, and 5. And if I place a level 3 advisor on the top position of the MOVE column… you can bump me down one rung if you place your level 4 or 5 advisor in that same column. Make sense? I sure hope so! ?

But wait… THERE’S MORE!

When all players have placed their advisors, it’s time to make those actions happen! But, in contrast to the “higher numbers means you can bump for the most beneficial spot in a given action column” schema… the lowest power advisors now fire off first in the action phase!! I definitely love a little balance-inducing tension in a game!

Let’s say that I want to be sure to get 3 “move” actions this turn. In order to do that, I need to place my level 5 advisor in the “3-move” space on the strategy board. But, I also want to be the first player to move. Ohhhhhh… we have a predicament! I need the max effectiveness of a given action.. but I alsoneed to take that action first… or at least before you. Wahhhhhhhhh!

If only there was a way to maintain initiative but add to an advisor’s power! Rest easy my friends…

Bribes… they make the modern world go ‘round

Oh wait… that’s not the correct lyric… Anyway…

As you place an advisor, simply add some metal coins next to your meeple to bribe local officials. This allows you to take advantage of the advisor’s initiative while boosting their power. What? For example, you can place a level 1 advisor in the Tax column (assuring that you will be the first to activate this action) and then you can add 3 coins to this advisor to activate the space at a level 4 power. Nice!

Sure, that might seem unfair if you’re short on money that round and you generally hold yourself to a high, in-game, ethical standard regardless of game mechanics. But, you have to love the old-school bribe… at least in a board game ?

Once all the advisors are placed… we move on to the Action Phase.

Lights… Camera… 💡🎥

During the action phase players go around the table resolving their advisors one at a time in initiative order. So all the lowest numbered advisors resolve in player order, and then the next lowest, and on and on.

OK… so there are 6 main actions represented on the strategy board (where you place your advisors:


Spend muster points to placed additional troops on the board in a region where you already have troops. If you have no troops on the board and your leader is also not in play, you can muster your leader and any one troop into any one region. Of course, you’re also maybe not doing so well in the game… but hey… as long as you’re having fun! I mean… right?


Spend movement points to move troops that number of times. You can move one troop many times or split the moves up between troops – have at it! Also, you may move through regions containing other players’ troops without initiating combat if you so choose J


Spend attack points to make-war on rebels (slo mode) or other players that share a region of the board with you and your troops! I won’t get into all the specifics of how attack works, but the mechanic is streamlined and quick. Rebel combat is a snap and if you attack an opponent you randomly determine if you were injured in the attack; they are always going to lose one troop… hehe. To the victor goes the spoils and all…


Draw scheme cards equal to the number of scheme icons on the Strategy board space you selected with your advisor. These scheme cards can be played as bonus actions (more on those in a minute). Generally, scheme cards provide you with immediate resource/coin rewards. Nice!


Spend tax points to collect goods from areas of the map occupied by your troops… Place the good on your household mat (player mat) either on the docks or in an unoccupied space on your boat. Later when sorting out the claim board, goods on a boat will help you achieve higher status. More on this below J


Spend build points to create structures in the regions you occupy. It’s cheaper to build in areas where you rule (have majority)… but hey, you can build anywhere you have troops for the right cost 😉


In addition to the actions on the strategy board, players may perform each of the three bonus actions once.

Play a scheme card – get the resources/money. Easy!

Accomplish a deed – once the requirements of a deed card are met, you can accomplish the deed; gaining the reward featured on the bottom of the card. Completed deeds are worth points at the end of the game! An example of a typical deed card might be, “build a market in three adjacent regions on the board.”

Convert goods – activate one of your two conversion tiles. An example tile from the rules allows a player to convert “one wood or one ore, plus any other good” into “one build point.” You get the idea… you’re a gamer… ??

Stake your claim

In this third and final phase players will advance on claim tracks, choose new deeds for the upcoming round, earn income, and then prepare for the next round. I won’t get into all the details of this phase… but it’s basically an end of round “tally and reset” scenario.

Claim Tracks and Warfare Tracks

Ascending these tracks requires certain accomplishments. The higher you are on the tracks, the more points you score at the end of the game. On the Claim side of the equation you’re looking at Ruling, Building, and Trading. As an example, the having structures in adjacent regions allows you to climb the Building track. More adjacent regions with structures means you’re going higher on the track. Bam!

Meanwhile, back at warfare central (smile), you’ll advance on this track each time you attack an opponent! Not to fear my friendly-Euro-gamer compatriots! While the claim tracks max out at 8 points each, the warfare track is simply 3 points for the player in first place on that track and 1 point for second place. Put more directly, there is not a tremendous amount to be gained by pillaging the land. Of course if you have an “agent of chaos” in your gaming group… this may happen 😉

Bottom of the 4th

The game ends once the fourth round is completed. Players tally up points for Claim and Warfare tracks, Deed cards (each accomplished deed is worth one or two end game points – the card indicates which amount is scored), and Agenda cards (score 2 points if you accomplished your agenda.

Oh wait, I didn’t mention those. Well, at game start each player gets two agenda cards and chooses one to keep. These are your classic “if you accomplish this by end game you get this many points” sort of deal.

I should note that while points can be scored for Ruling Regions, Building Structures, Collecting Goods, Warfare, Secret Agendas, and Deeds… the game is designed to make the first three far more profitable in terms of game end points. I really like that the warfare portion is muted somewhat as this allows the game to steer away from the standard “people on a map” schema.

Overall thoughts

This is a SOLID, SOLID game! Sweet components, smooth mechanics, and the unique strategy board that balances initiative and power. Win, win, and WIN! The game is getting a lot of positive press and I could not be happier for Stan Kordonskiy (the designer) and the awesome folks over at PieceKeeper games. If you’re like me you’ll want this game on your shelf (obviously it’s already on mine!)… but of course most important is to get the game to your TABLE.

Game on!


Ages: 14+
Players: 2 – 5
Play Time: 45 – 150 minutes
Designer Stan Kordonskiy
Publisher: PieceKeeper Games
SKU: PieceKeeper 002
This bundle – made by kludging things
together from smaller semi-bundles 
available on eBay and elsewhere (smile)
– $188 and up! (as of listing NOV 2021).
Upstart Price: $154.75 
Link to BGG:


So sorry... this game is SOLD OUT 😢


Rurik: Dawn of Kiev Kickstarter Edition bundle! Includes the Kickstarter Edition base game, the Stone and Blade expansion, the neoprene playmat, the metal coins and the plastic honey cubes!… oh my!!  This is the Grand Prince Pledge from the KS campaign from September 2020.

Rurik: Dawn of Kiev is a euro-style realm building game set in an 11th century Eastern European Kingdom. It features area control, resource management, and a new game mechanic – “auction programming.”

You play as a potential successor to the throne following the death of your father, Vladimir the Great, in 1015. The people value a well-rounded leader, so you must establish your legacy by building, taxing, fighting, and accomplishing great deeds. Will you win over the hearts of the people to become the next ruler of Kievan Rus?

Rurik brings to life the ancient culture of Kievan Rus with game design by Russian designer Stanislav Kordonskiy and illustrations by Ukrainian artist Yaroslav Radeckyi.

In Rurik, players openly bid for actions with their advisors. Stronger advisors earn greater benefits at the cost of performing their action later than other players. Conversely, weaker advisors earn lesser benefits but perform their action quickly. This planning mechanism (“auction programming”) adds a fun tension to the game.

Rurik: Stone & Blade is a modular expansion for Rurik: Dawn of Kiev and is divided into core content and three modules. It is recommended to integrate the core content into all future plays of Rurik. You can add an individual module or any combination of modules.

Core Content: More gameplay variety with minimal rules overhead.

Module A – Epic Structures: Build structures to cement your legacy.

Module B – Warfare: Capture opposing troops and hold them for ransom.

Module C – Rebel Factions: Suppress the growing rebel opposition.

Requires Rurik: Dawn of Kiev to play.

-description from publisher

Additional information
Weight 10.4 lbs
Dimensions 14 × 14 × 14 in

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